Having high amounts of energy is the only way for you to get ahead in this hectic world. The problem is that in attempts to get ahead, most of us avoid rest and relaxation, leading to poor energy levels and lower productivity.
Fortunately, there are a few strategies that you can begin to employ each day to significantly improve your energy levels. To come, I’ll discuss 10 of my favorite interventions that you too can introduce to your routine almost immediately.
Take Regular Breaks
In our current society, most of us place our occupations above all else. This often leads to long hours staring at screens or other occupational tools or devices, with little to no breaks included. The problem with doing this is that sticking with one thing for hours on end isn’t great for feeling invigorated.
If you find that you’re not taking breaks regularly, I recommend you begin to do so. I like to compare this idea to chronic dieting.
We know that constant calorie restriction isn’t good. You end up with a slowed metabolism and you feel burned out. While taking breaks from work might not help your metabolism, doing so can give you some time away to recollect and rest, helping you feel less fatigued.
I recommend getting up and walking around at least once every hour if you’re in a job where you sit or have to focus for hours on end. Doing so will provide more energy and likely make you more productive.
Eat Better And In Smaller Portions
When you consider how eating influences our lives, you begin to realize that we derive energy from everything we eat. Eating isn’t just about enjoying tasty flavors. The food you eat literally determines how much energy you have.
If you’re consuming highly processed foods, rich in sugar, all the time, you’re providing the body with minimal amounts of important nutrients and you also risk developing sugar crashes later in the day.
Even more, the amount of food you eat during each meal can have significant impacts on your energy levels. When you eat a large amount of food in one sitting, your parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated. This system works to force you into relaxation so that your body can digest the large amount of food. This unfortunately is not conducive to high energy levels.
I recommend that you clean up your diet, placing emphasis on highly nutritious foods. Also, consider consuming smaller meals throughout the day to avoid crashes in energy levels while your body is attempting to digest the food.
Get Up And Moving Earlier
While there isn’t any scientific evidence of this, I find that waking up earlier helps me feel more energized throughout the day.
By waking up early, I feel as though I accomplish something to start my day. Additionally, being able to accomplish important tasks before others wake in the morning provides a sense of accomplishment, which I find energizes me.
If you wake up later in the morning and have energy problems throughout the day, I recommend you attempt to wake up a bit earlier and get a head start on the day. Chances are that you’ll feel better afterwards.
Go To Bed Earlier
Secondary to waking earlier, I recommend that you try sleeping earlier. This is especially important if you do decide to wake earlier in the morning. If you’re rising early but going to bed late, you’ll end up sleep deprived, placing you in a worse position.
Adequate sleep is so important; even if you think that you’re able to function on fewer hours than anyone else, you’re only fooling yourself. The latest research indicates that even reductions of a few hours per night can have significant and severe impacts on not only your energy levels, but also brain and total body health.
Not to mention, going to sleep earlier will help you get more shuteye, aiding restful sleep while directly improving your energy levels.
Limit Light Exposure At Night
Light is known as a zeitgeber. Zeitgebers are external cues in the environment to regulate our sleep wake cycle. For instance, the sun rising in the morning is considered a zeitgeber.
Only, in our age of technology, the sun is not the only zeitgeber known to us. Unfortunately, bright screens such as those on our laptops and smartphones, emit light from the blue spectrum, the very same emitted from the sun.
This light touches photoreceptors in the eye, which then tell the brain that it’s daylight, even if it’s one in the morning. This directly inhibits the release of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep wake cycle. When this happens perpetually, it’s likely that you’ll have poor sleep and low energy levels throughout the day.
I recommend that you first use blue blocking applications on your devices. Fortunately, companies like Apple have begun implementing this as a native app on devices through a setting known as night mode. Many other developers such as Google have also begun to follow this trend.
You can also consider using blue blocker glasses to ensure that almost no blue light touches your eyes. However, they aren’t the most fashionable, so consider that before purchasing.
Monitor Caffeine Usage
Everyone knows that caffeine helps improve energy, but if used chronically, it can be less effective and also significantly hamper sleep quality.
Unfortunately caffeine builds tolerance and dependence quickly. This means that for caffeine to remain effective, you need to progressively increase the dosage. The problem with this reality is that at some point there are diminishing returns.
Essentially, you have the ability to increase caffeine usage so high that you no longer feel the energizing effects of the drug, but it still stimulates your sympathetic nervous system, leading to output of stress hormones and poor quality of sleep.
I recommend two things here. First, try limiting your caffeine use to only in the morning, about an hour after waking. The reasons for this are simple. By consuming only in the morning, you limit how much you consume, while also limiting impact on sleep.
Further, if you consume caffeine immediately in the morning, it’s possible for this caffeine to be masked by the hormone cortisol, which rises in the morning. It’s best to allow cortisol to decline before having your caffeine. Knowing when this happens for you will, of course, take experimentation.
By reducing your caffeine intake and taking it at the right times, it’s possible that you’ll improve the effectiveness of caffeine, directly improving energy levels.
Optimize Your Circadian Rhythm
We’ve already touched briefly on this topic, but I wanted to reiterate how important regulating one’s circadian rhythm is.
Our bodies are well-oiled machines. They’re controlled almost entirely by hormones, which means we should optimize their release. Surprisingly, many of our hormones, including those that help us get to and stay asleep, as well as wake in the morning, play a significant role in how our bodies function and how we feel.
Cortisol for instance, often considered to be the stress hormone, plays a significant role in waking. It’s through a process known as the cortisol awakening response that our bodies are able to wake.
Have you ever noticed when you’re on a schedule, you can wake at the same time without an alarm? That’s because your circadian rhythm is aligned with your schedule. It’s also in part due to the regular release of cortisol at the right times.
Essentially, when you have an erratic sleep and wake cycle, you change how these hormones function. When they don’t function optimally, you’ll have poor energy levels and likely poor overall health.
To optimize your circadian rhythm, consider sleeping and waking at similar times each day, even on the weekends. Doing so will almost certainly improve your energy levels.
Limit Simple Sugars
Simple sugars are typically not much of an issue if you’re active throughout the day, but if you have a relatively sedentary job, consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to weight gain and fluctuations of energy.
Almost everyone has heard of the sugar crash, and for most of us, it’s a real thing. You consume a bunch of sugar through candy or something else that isn’t great and then 30 minutes later, you’re dragging with low energy levels.
Rather than reaching for a candy bar, try grabbing something that has a bit of fiber. Even though fruits for instance, do contain fructose, which is a type of sugar, whole fruits also have fiber, which slows digestion down, helping you avoid major blood sugar swings.
Also, if you end up eating simple sugars, I recommend you consider using CAPLABS Blood Sugar Support. This supplement contains awesome ingredients like cinnamon, which act to slow the entrance of sugar in your blood, to also avoid radical swings. Try taking this alongside your next sugary snack.
Take a Break From Exercise
As paradoxical as it sounds, taking a break from exercise might be a good idea if you find that you’re chronically fatigued.
Exercise is in fact a stressor. That’s why you can force your body to change, because the body views your exercise as a threat to your survival. That’s also why taking rest days is always a recommendation.
If you’re training very often, yet can’t ever seem to recover, it’s likely that you either need to take a step back or significantly increase your calories. When it comes to recovery, you only have a few choices, which include taking more rest, eating more food for recovery, or a combination of both.
I recommend that you reevaluate your training and nutrition a bit and consider taking more regular rest days. Doing so may significantly improve your daily energy levels.
Adaptogens are compounds derived from herbs that help you better deal with stress. Fortunately, many of these ingredients have also been shown to help reduce fatigue, directly helping you feel more energized.
Rhodiola Rosea, for instance is a powerful adaptogen that has time and again been shown to reduce feelings of fatigue. Even more exciting is that this research indicates that rhodiola is effective, even after just one does. This means you can take it when you need it and avoid it when you don’t (1, 2, 3).
If you’re constantly fatigued and don’t have issues with supplements, adaptogens like rhodiola rosea top my list of suggestions.
10 Ways To Improve Energy
Having proper energy levels throughout the day is essential for a happy and productive life. Unfortunately, our society prides itself on working to the bone, so you should take special care to optimize your rest and recovery for optimal energy levels.
Fortunately, there are many different ways to improve energy levels indirectly or directly, and most of them included in the article can be used with minimal extra effort. Try giving these tips a try and see how much more energy you have each day!
- Edwards, D., Heufelder, A., & Zimmermann, A. (2012). Therapeutic Effects and Safety of Rhodiola rosea Extract WS® 1375 in Subjects with Life‐stress Symptoms–Results of an Open‐label Study. Phytotherapy Research, 26(8), 1220-1225.
- Spasov, A. A., Wikman, G. K., Mandrikov, V. B., Mironova, I. A., & Neumoin, V. V. (2000). A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of the stimulating and adaptogenic effect of Rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract on the fatigue of students caused by stress during an examination period with a repeated low-dose regimen. Phytomedicine, 7(2), 85-89.
- Shevtsov, V. A., Zholus, B. I., Shervarly, V. I., Vol’skij, V. B., Korovin, Y. P., Khristich, M. P., … & Wikman, G. (2003). A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work. Phytomedicine, 10(2-3), 95-105.